|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00|
It’s not hard to find somebody riding a horse, especially in a parade in Camp Verde. At this year’s Fort Verde Days parade, however, there will be one horse without a rider.
The riderless horse is the Camp Verde Cavalry honoring one of its own who is no longer with it.
C.A. McDonald, a resident of Camp Verde since 1955 and a lifetime member of the cavalry, died in November 2009.
It’s in his honor that the horse with no rider will make its way down Main Street alongside the cavalry in the parade, scheduled for Saturday morning, Oct. 9.
“We decided to do this at the end of last year, since he died at the end of the year,” said Howard Parrish, longtime member of the cavalry. “He was a real good member, by gosh. He was always right there everywhere we went.”
Parrish will help lead the horse when the time comes.
McDonald was described as a “good ol’ boy” who was “very patriotic” and community-oriented by his colleagues in the cavalry, who point to his work on Butler Park, Arena del Loma, the Camp Verde Unified School District Governing Board and his work with young people at the Verde Valley Fair, among other things.
Parrish said McDonald traveled with the cavalry all over the state to promote Camp Verde, and once even served as the grand marshal of the Fort Verde Days parade, now in its 54th year. He had a love for his family, horses, cattle and camping, according to Parrish.
This isn’t the first time the cavalry has honored a comrade who has shuffled off this mortal coil.
Parrish said the cavalry has honored others in this way in the past, including former active members Craig Jackson and Albert Dickison.
While death and relocation serve to diminish the numbers of people who ride with the Camp Verde Cavalry, the group is always looking for new blood.
“Good members are hard to find,” Parrish said. “There’s a lot of horses in Camp Verde, but there’s a lot of people who don’t get out and ride.”
The cavalry travels around occasionally to represent the town. It can often be found involved with local events, like the parade, escorting the annual Pony Express mail run into town and presiding over the yearly Colonel’s Daughter competition.
“We still have a few saddles left,” Parrish said. “We just go out there and have fun.”
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